Head to tail length averages 3.2-5 m
Estimated at 250-1,500 non-hatchlings
Freshwater riverine habitats in the middle and lower reaches of the Orinoco River basin and the savannas of the Llanos
Colombia Venezuela Orinoco
Warm and cuddly they aren't. With fearsome teeth and hardly hides. Orinoco crocodiles are the very definition of tough. South America's largest predator is certainly intimidating, but there is much more to it than brawn: it lives within a complex social structure governed by dominance hierarchies, and has a repertoire of vocalizations at its command. Highly protective of their own, mothers will play bodyguard to their young for as long as three years. But the Orinoco crocodile needs more than teeth to protect it now. Rampant poaching and relentless habitat loss are finally pushing it to the brink of extinction.